For the past three years, I’ve played professional golf on the international stage and most recently with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). The tour has afforded me an amazing opportunity to pursue my dream of playing professional golf while visiting some pretty amazing places. To join the tour, however, I had to leave school at Arizona State University where I was playing for their golf team and only a year away from earning my Bachelor’s degree. Knowing I would return to college at some point to complete my degree, I dove headfirst into the professional world of women’s golf.
As the tour continued, I began thinking about how and when I would be able to re-enroll at school. The traditional college experience obviously wasn’t going to work for my schedule while on tour. I’m constantly traveling and I spend a majority of my time in hotels, on a flight or on the golf course. But I refused to allow my unpredictable schedule to get in the way of completing my degree, so I reenrolled with ASU Online in December 2012 and just recently completed my degree in mass communications. The skills I acquired through my degree have significantly enhanced my ability to interact in my day-to-day workplace, particularly with my sponsors on a personal and professional level. My degree will also enable me to pursue my goal of entering the field of sports broadcasting when I feel I’m ready to leave a full-time career as a professional golfer.
That fact is, there’s absolutely no reason for athletes or others with unpredictable schedules to feel as if completing a college degree is an unrealistic achievement. Online programs are a great fit for those of us who can’t accommodate a traditional college environment. Not only are online programs flexible and accessible anywhere, but many offer a strong support network to help navigate the process ensuring that you stay on track. Below, I’ve listed a few of the online resources that were critical to my personal success.
Completing your degree online while working full-time and constantly traveling isn’t easy but with the right resources and support system, it can finally be a realistic achievement. Many athletes leave their universities early in order to compete at the highest level in their respective sports, but it’s still important to prioritize our education and set ourselves up for long-term success. Ultimately, I share the same pride in completing my degree as I do being a professional golfer and I have no doubt that other athletes will feel the same.
This post first appeared in The Huffington Post.